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Microcredit pioneer Muhammad Yunus, fondly known as the banker of the poor, once said that poverty would become a museum artifact and set a timeline for it. But he has not set a timeline for himself

Microcredit pioneer Muhammad Yunus, who turned 75 on Sunday, said people should continue working until their last breath and that the word “retirement” should be sent into retreat.

“Human beings must remain active until the last breath. There is no reason why there should be a pause, a stop at any point. So, there is no question of retirement,” Yunus told the German Press Agency (DPA) on the eve of his birthday.

Yunus, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 jointly with his micro-lending Grameen Bank, also advocated: “It [working throughout one’s life] is not only for me, it should be for everyone.”

Grameen Bank has been providing microfinance to the poor, mostly women, since its creation in 1983. But the system, originally praised for reaching those excluded from normal commercial credit, came under criticism for encouraging debt and taking excessive profits. In March 2011, Yunus was removed by the Bangladeshi government from the bank’s top position in a dispute over the retirement age. Grameen Bank was criticized in a 2010 Norwegian documentary that alleged Yunus transferred $100 million, given to the bank by Norad, Norway’s state development agency, and other donors, to Grameen Kalyan – a non-profit affiliate – in 1996 without following the conditions stipulated by the donors.

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